NASA today announced an end to all space exploration after the latest set of photographs taken by its Voyager 1 spacecraft, currently exploring the Kuiper Belt on the very edge of the solar system, showed nothing but a bunch of stars that look virtually indistinguishable from those viewed from Earth.
‘The guys and I just looked at the shots, then at each other, and you could tell what we were all thinking. This is just one almighty waste of time,’ said Professor Martin Cramber of NASA, addressing a packed press conference at Cape Canaveral. ‘We’re on this planet and there are stars in every direction for millions and millions of miles. Who really cares?’
‘I mean, look at this,’ continued Cramber, holding up a series of grainy black and white photos of what may well have been stars. ‘And this. And this. They’re stars, yes? Do they tell you anything you didn’t already know? Of course not. You can take as many pictures as you like, but not one of them is going to show a star with a big sign on it saying ‘Hello Earthlings’ or ‘Big Bang woz ere’. I tell you what, why not give your tax dollars straight to me and I’ll send you some Polaroids every few months.’
The announcement by NASA has sent shockwaves through the scientific community and led to a reappraisal of the value of much current research. ‘We found a particle that was smaller than the previous smallest particle,’ said a physicist at CERN, ‘then we got briefly excited when we thought we’d found a particle even smaller than that. But when you boil it down, I guess what we’re saying is that everything’s made of little things, and if you propel something god knows how fast straight into the path of another thing, you’re going to end up with something smaller than you started with.’
‘Jesus, I can’t believe I gave up any chance with women for this.’
22nd November 2010